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As rents soar in the region, Roseville looks to add affordable housing

As low-income residents struggle to find apartments within their reach in the Sacramento region, one of the area’s most affluent cities is adding affordable housing.

The 58-unit Mercy Roseville Apartments, currently under construction, will cater to low-income residents in downtown Roseville starting next summer.

“A community like Roseville is affluent, but you also have a number of low-wage jobs that are there, and the people that are working these jobs need to be able to afford to live in the community that they work in,” said Darryl Rutherford, executive director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, which advocates for affordable housing.

When it’s finished, the apartment building will include about 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space as well as an underground parking garage – features that city planners wanted to help the building fit in downtown, said Rich Ciraulo, senior project developer with the nonprofit group behind the new building, Mercy Housing.

The $24 million project, located on Vernon Street, is funded by $5.7 million from the city of Roseville, $16.7 million in tax credits and $2.1 million from the state, among other sources. Construction began last November.

Apartments are limited to renters who earn between 30 and 60 percent of Placer County’s median income for their household size. A family of four, for example, would need to earn between roughly $20,800 and $41,600 to apply.

Roseville’s median household income was $75,867 in 2015, according to the Census Bureau, about 20 percent higher than in the Sacramento region as a whole.

Monthly rents, which vary based on one’s income, will range from $340, the lowest price for a one-bedroom unit, to about $1,100, the highest price for an apartment with three bedrooms, Ciraulo said.

Ciraulo said he expects residents’ utility costs to be lower than usual as well, thanks to green features like LED lighting and appliances designed to save water. Mercy Housing plans to install solar panels, but they will only power the building’s common areas.

Danielle Foster, Roseville’s housing manager, said the city is close to its goal of having 10 percent of new housing since 1989 designated as affordable for people earning median or below-median incomes for the Sacramento area.

According to Foster, meeting affordable housing goals has gotten tougher since 2012, when the state eliminated redevelopment agencies. Roseville used to receive as much as $1.5 million per year from the program.

“I think cities throughout the state are figuring this one out still,” Foster said. “It’s challenging. I think Roseville has done an excellent job of utilizing local resources, and that’s what we’re doing in these projects. But there continues to be a need for that gap to be filled.”

The Sacramento region’s rents are rising faster than any other area in California, according to a recent study by real estate company Yardi Matrix. RENTCafe, a website with housing listings, calculates the average one-bedroom apartment rent in Roseville at $1,347.

Mercy Roseville Apartments this week started an interest list for prospective renters, who can call 916-472-2962 to sign up.

“We’ve definitely been getting calls from residents now that we’re in construction,” Ciraulo said.

Hannah Knowles: 916-321-1141, @KnowlesHannah

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